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Welcome Back Fans! Get ready for 2021-22 Opening Night

Fans can enjoy Opening Night Party, presented by Coca-Cola, Little Caesars Arena restaurants' grand openings and more Thursday night

by Josh Berenter @DetroitRedWings /

For the first time in more than 18 months, the Detroit Red Wings will welcome back the Hockeytown faithful to Little Caesars Arena Thursday night when the puck drops on the 2021-22 season against the defending Stanley Cup-champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

Before even entering Little Caesars Arena on Thursday, fans are invited to attend the Opening Night Party, presented by Coca-Cola, starting at 5 p.m. This free event outside the arena is open to the public and includes live music and dance performances, interactive games, drinks and snacks, photo opportunities by the brand-new 3D DRW letters and more.

Once inside the arena, ticketed fans can pick up their LED bracelets, presented by Coca-Cola, from their seats to be part of the exciting Opening Night Pregame Show, and fans can receive autographs on the concourse from Red Wings legends like Kirk Maltby, Alex Delvecchio, Darren McCarty and more.

Also on the Little Caesars Arena concourse, fans will be greeted with several new features to enhance the gameday experience.

The biggest updates from the last time thousands of fans entered Little Caesars Arena are the restaurants on the southeast side of the building. The Mixing Board and PointsBet Sports Bar will celebrate their Grand Openings on Thursday evening.

Every element of The Mixing Board was carefully curated to showcase and celebrate the uniqueness of Detroit. Just as a concert mixing board merges multiple, diverse input signals into a sonorous whole, so too will The Mixing Board, pulling from the city's rich history of ethnic, neighborhood and local flavors and ingredients that characterize Detroit and the state of Michigan.

The full-service restaurant, which includes a performance stage for live, local music and entertainment, features locally sourced ingredients, libations and creations unique to the region, along with décor that pays homage to the city's inimitable automotive, musical and industrial history.

The Mixing Board menu includes starters, salads, sandwiches, flatbread pizzas, sharables, desserts, craft cocktails and craft beer - all with a decidedly local twist. Both individual and shared items are uniquely presented and served on custom wooden boards, which were specially created for The Mixing Board menu. Larger charcuterie-style boards were developed for sharable menu options.

The Mixing Board guests will enjoy an array of menu options dedicated to the city of Detroit and the great state of Michigan, including the MotorCity Margherita flatbread pizza, the Southwest Detroit tacos, the Woodward Stack double cheeseburger, the Traverse City Bourbon Butter Cake dessert and the Wolverinetini and Spartini cocktails, an ode to one of the greatest rivalries in all of college sports.

Just south of The Mixing Board, the new PointsBet Sports Bar is highlighted by betting-themed pub fare, dozens of taps featuring local craft and domestic beers and unique menu items not available anywhere else in Detroit. Special guests will appear at the PointsBet Sports Bar, along with unique programing, VIP access and gaming promotions. Televisions will display integrated live odds, giving fans real-time updates as they monitor their favorite teams while placing bets.

Another update that fans will notice on the northeast side of Little Caesars Arena is The District Market is now The UWM District Market, furthering the partnership between the Red Wings and their Exclusive Mortgage Provider. The UWM District Market is a restaurant and eatery comprised of five fresh food concepts in an upscale cafeteria-style atmosphere.

Different food options inside the market include La Cocina, The Garden, The Patio Grill, The Coffee House and Homemade.

In addition to restaurant updates and upgrades, Little Caesars Arena has increased fan safety measures with a revised no-bag policy and cashless transactions.

As part of the revised bag policy, no bags are allowed into Little Caesars Arena larger than 4" x 6" x 1.5", including backpacks, purses, clear bags, blanket totes and others. Diaper bags and medical bags are allowed, pending inspection from arena security.

Cash transactions are no longer permitted at Little Caesars Arena. Fans can use all major credit cards to purchase parking, concessions and memorabilia, and for convenience, a Cash2Card kiosk has been added outside PORTAL 9 and 58 and inside the XFINITY Box Office for fans to exchange cash for a debit card.

Fans unable to attend Thursday's game can catch all the action on Bally Sports Detroit or 97.1 The Ticket, with puck drop set for 7:30 p.m.

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